The NHTSA is investigating GM's Cruise automated taxis for safety problems. The vehicles can unexpectedly brake or become immobilized in traffic, creating potential safety hazards, according to NHTSA. Photo courtesy of getcruise.com
Dec. 16 (UPI) -- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened a "preliminary evaluation" into reports that GM's Cruise automated taxis have traffic safety issues.
NHTSA said the taxis may engage in inappropriately hard braking or become immobilized while operating. It added that the two issues are unrelated but each poses multiple potential hazards to passengers, surrounding traffic and the Cruise vehicles.
NHTSA's Office of Defects Investigation filed a document announcing the investigation that said it "has received notices of incidents in which Automated Driving System-equipped vehicles operated by Cruise LLC may engage in inappropriately hard braking or become immobilized while operating."
NHTSA said it has three reports of the sudden hard braking that resulted in rear-end collisions.
In each case, NHTSA said, "the other road user subsequently struck the rear of the ADS-equipped vehicle. The ADS-equipped vehicles involved were operating under onboard human supervision at the time of each crash."
There have also been multiple reports involving GM's Cruise ADS equipped taxis becoming immobilized in traffic while operating without onboard human supervision, according to NHTSA.
That causes the GM robotaxis to become unexpected obstacles in the road, posing a risk to occupants of the taxis and others.
Cruise spokesperson Drew Pusateri said the company will "continue to fully cooperate with NHTSA or any regulator", adding that Cruise representatives have met with NHTSA to talk about the hard-braking events.
The Cruise automated taxis are operating in San Francisco and the company has plans to continue to rapidly scale-up deployment of the automated taxis with a goal of having a million self-driving taxis by 2030.